Smith featured at international religious conference
Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Dec. 12, 2014
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Mary Beth Spence
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Sister Rosemary Smith, Chief Mission Services Officer at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, was a featured speaker at the 16th ACWECA General Assembly in Lusaka, Zambia. The ACWECA (Association of Consecrated Women in Eastern and Central Africa) includes a membership of more than 20,000 Sisters in nine eastern and central African countries. During the Assembly, more than 100 Superiors General representing these religious congregations were in attendance.
One of only a small number of women in the Catholic Church to hold a doctorate in canon law — the study of the laws of the Catholic Church — Smith presented a day-long workshop at the ACWECA Assembly on the subject, discussing structures, membership issues and property issues in the Church. "Structures include information about how these congregations relate to the diocesan church, how members are admitted to and depart from congregations, as well as appropriate processes for internal congregational activities such as chapters," she explained about her presentation.
Smith is a 35-year member of the Canon Law Society of America; her previous teaching includes work with many religious congregations, dioceses and healthcare facilities in the United States as well as with religious congregations in Italy, Ireland and several countries in Africa.
A New Jersey native and member of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Smith has served in various leadership positions in her own religious congregation and as a member or as board chair of numerous healthcare, educational and residential facilities for more than 30 years. Prior to her role at Emory Saint Joseph's, Smith served as the senior vice president of sponsorship for the Bon Secours Health System.
Smith earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics, a Master of Arts in English literature and a doctorate in Canon Law. She has taught in Catholic secondary schools in New Jersey and as a professor of canon law at St. Mary Seminary in Houston, TX., and has served as Vicar for Religious in the Diocese of Little Rock, Ark.